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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

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Haven line up PNG stars

THE chase has hotted up to bring two Papua New Guinea Test stars to Whitehaven.

Whitehaven News Sport first revealed the interest at the start of the month and this week the club disclosed that the players are prop forwards.

Both are internationals and have put their signatures to signing forms.

But as it is still not a done deal the club decline to name the players.

This is because the visa process has still to be completed. Instead of from Port Moresby in the past, the PNG visas have to be issued from the Philippines and this is taking longer than usual.

Chief executive Barry Richardson explained: “Visas have been sorted out at our end but not in Papua New Guinea. Until that happens they are not Whitehaven players.”

New Aussie head coach Dave Woods revealed: “Terms have been agreed with two PNG props and contracts signed. But it’s out of our hands whether they will be given the go ahead to come to Whitehaven.”

The same situation applies to Jessie Joe Parker who became a big favourite at the Recreation Ground last season His performances at the ‘business end’ contributed greatly to Haven clinching promotion.

Because Jessie Joe Parker returned home to be with his family in the close season he needs new visas before he can return to play.

However, like his two PNG colleagues, he’s very keen to don the chocolate blue and gold. The presence of not one but three current Test stars could make a real difference to Whitehaven’s prospects in a tough Championship campaign.

Haven have retained the power of Dave Houghton from Widnes and ex-Kells front rower Paul Cullnean and recently added two new props in the shape of Paul Jackson and Lee Paterson Although at the veteran stage the club see both making a serious contribution.

But in summer rugby you can’t have enough props especially if they are adaptable and happen to have international credentials, to boot.

Haven are still busy on the domestic scene.

Having just snapped up Bradford Bulls youngster Cain Southernwood, the club are still chasing new players on the domestic front particularly to strengthen the back division as well as casting eyes over the area’s best amateurs.

Unfortunately, though, they have missed out on signing promising Wigan winger Ryan King.

Coach Dave Woods had talks with the Academy side starlet but it was to no avail. King has deiced to try his luck in Australia instead.

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